For the Nationals, now what?

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Some final thoughts from Turner Field, where the Nats fell to 0-6 this afternoon…

— Willie Harris’ strained oblique is considered “minor” by a team doctor, but these things don’t tend to heal quickly. And given the shortage of healthy second basemen right now, it wouldn’t be surprising if Harris (or Ronnie Belliard) winds up on the DL. Anderson Hernandez played seven innings today for Syracuse, and though the plan was to have him play nine innings on back-to-back days before activating him off the DL, the Nats may just bring him back tomorrow out of necessity.

— Ryan Zimmerman recorded his 500th career hit in the eighth inning. At 24 years, 196 days, Zim is the second-youngest player in Expos/Nats franchise history to reach that milestone, behind only Delino DeShields (24 years, 164 days).

— Scott Olsen was happy he threw the ball with more velocity today, especially in the first three innings. But he knows he let things get out of hand in the fourth and fifth, all of it starting with a two-out walk to Brian McCann. “Inconsistent” was the way Olsen described his pitching in those two innings.

— Manny Acta held a brief team meeting following this game. His basic message: It’s time to clean things up. No more missed signs. No mishandled plays in the field. You can’t rely on talent alone. You have to be a professional and do the little things right to win in the major leagues. His words were well-received. “Guys know what they need to do, and I think it’s being addressed,” Adam Dunn said. “The good thing is, if things aren’t going right or people aren’t doing their jobs, we feel like we’ve got a good enough team. If they’re not doing their job, then you’re sitting down.”

Home opener is now less than 20 hours away. It has to get better, right? Right?

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Mark Zuckerman

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